Monday, November 5, 2012

Caney Fork and Elk River Fishing Report

Sluice vs. Generator Release
The Caney Fork- The recreation schedule is complete for the year. The Army Corps can now run water or not run water as needed. The lake level is 627' and the release throughout the week is relatively light. During the weekends they have kept the water from the generators off and only have been releasing 250 CFS from the sluice gate. Wading anglers have been pretty content with this weekend schedule as have the anglers who  do most of their fishing from boats. The fish are responding to nymphs fished under indicators, soft hackles swinging over the shoals and there are even reports of some dry fly action for the Hatchery Brats. If the water levels in the lake remain constant we could have an angler friendly November.
The other day I was towing the boat to the river and crossed over the dam just as the generator and sluice were fired up for a release. I stopped to take a look and a photo.  The view from above is interesting and shows the different current flows, as well as the contrast in water color for the releases. The water release from the generator reveals a clear flow as does the water coming from the caves. This water even under generation would be excellent for fishing nymphs, dries and streamers. 
The sluice gate, which measures 4' by 6', releases water at the base of the dam. The water coming from the sluice is green in color. The off-color water isn't ideal for fly fishing in general. Anglers will need to be more accurate with placement of the fly especially when fishing nymphs and dry flies. Vibrations from articulated streamers and streamers with fat heads will push water. Fishing streamers with these features should be more effective at getting a trouts attention. Overall the river is not in bad shape and the fish are still responding to different presentations. The water color could be better and we will see how it looks after the sluice gate is closed for the season.
Fish Tails
This week, I was fortunate to play a part in an all day Introduction to Fly Fishing Class. The students did a great job with their newly learned techniques and they caught some fish. The fish responded to the usual nymphs, which made many of the students very happy and the instructors happy as well. It is fun to be a part of an angler's first fish on a fly rod.
Empty River
The Elk River- In early June, of this year, the generator at the Elk was turned off and a valve in the dam was broken. For several days TVA couldn't get the valve open, so they released warmer water through the spillway. We were on the water during that time and as the water temps continued to rise, the fishing declined. Finally TVA was able to open the valve and get 90 CFS of cool water flowing through the generator. The water temperature in the river went down and the fishing returned to somewhat normal.
Fast forward to the past couple weeks. TVA has been working to replace the valve and apparently while that work was underway TVA was trying to lower the lake level through the spillway. During this time the water release schedule was not consistent. Now it appears the work may be complete. However, be aware that the water could turn on or turn off at any time. The observed elevations are still above the flood guide for November and the generation continues. Folks who have been able to get in a few hours of fishing report the gravel is clean and the vegetation is considerably less than early Fall. 
Nymphs Equal Results

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